Cork hurling management team coming together

Cork senior hurling manager Kieran Kingston is in the process of finalising his backroom team, which will feature some high-profile names including Pat Mulcahy and Christy O’Connor.

Kingston has already named Ger Cunningham and Diarmuid O’Sullivan as his selectors and is currently sorting out the rest of the set-up, which will include a role for Cork legend Brian Corcoran.

The third selector will be, as expected, Pat Mulcahy from Newtownshandrum, who has vast coaching experience with his club and CIT in the Fitzgibbon Cup.

Ger Cunningham will be the head coach with former Clare goalkeeping coach and player Christy O’Connor coming in as well as part of the coaching team alongside O’Sullivan and Mulcahy.

When O’Donoghue stepped down from the Galway post he stepped down as well and he was to be involved in a coaching role with Donal Moloney in Clare if he had been reappointed. However, Moloney withdrew from the race in the Banner County which led Kingston to secure his services.

Another major addition is expected to be Corcoran, one of the county’s greatest ever players.

There will be another high profile appointment on the Strength and Conditioning side of things with Dubliner Mark Brady taking over that role. His most recent involvement was with the Italian Rugby team alongside Conor O’Shea during the World Cup in Japan.

He was involved too with Italian club sides Treviso and Zebre over the last number of years and prior to that had a role with Blackrock College in Dublin.

He will be assisted by Dr Wes O’Brien from UCC, a former player of note with the College and still a fine defender with his club Carrigaline.

Deccie O’Sullivan will again be the head physio of the panel.

GAA vote in favor of two tier championship

GAA president John Horan insists he has no fears for tiers – after the GAA strongly voted to introduce a two tiered football championship from 2020.

Just over 75 per cent of delegates at Special Congress in Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday backed the creation of a tier two competition – which will be comprised of Division 3 and 4 teams that fail to contest their respective provincial finals.

Delegates also supported the introduction of three new permanent rules to gaelic football – a ten minute sin-bin, an inside mark and all kickouts to be taken from the 20 metre line.

But there was hardly any debate on those motions, with the proposal on a tier two championship dominating the afternoon’s discussion.

A number of counties – including Antrim, Carlow and Fermanagh – expressed concerns about being cast adrift by what they believed was the creation of further elitism in the GAA by having a tiered structure.

But Horan says the GAA will ensure this secondary competition is organised and promoted properly – and will not be allowed fail as its predecessor did, the Tommy Murphy Cup.

The GAA President said: “We’ve a responsibility to make sure it works because 75 per cent of Congress have asked for it to work, so that responsibility rests with us to deliver it from a marketing and interest point of view.”

The motion, which required 60 per cent majority to pass, comfortably surpassed that threshold with 75.5 per cent of delegates supporting the introduction of a second tier.

With 24.5 per cent of delegates voting against, it meant there were a total of 112 votes registered for and 38 votes against.

Rugby World Cup: All Blacks blitz Ireland

Joe Schmidt has admitted that Ireland were “consumed” by righting the wrongs of their past after once again failing to reach the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland were swept aside by reigning world champions New Zealand in their quarter-final showdown, losing 46-14 in Tokyo.

Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge and Jordie Barrett all touched down as the All Blacks booked a semi-final meeting with Eddie Jones’ England in Yokohama next weekend.

The result means Ireland, who got themselves on the score sheet through Robbie Henshaw and a penalty try, have now lost all seven of their quarter-finals at the World Cup, with the nation yet to progress to the last four.

Under Schmidt there was hope of finally lifting the historical burden in Japan, but up against a relentless New Zealand side the Irish fell short in devastating fashion.

“We’d love to have gotten the top four,” said Schmidt in his post-match press conference. “That’s the one thing that remains and continues to remain elusive.

“Heartbroken wouldn’t be too far away from how I and the players feel.

“We wanted to make sure this was our target and perhaps got a little consumed by it.”

Schmidt faced suggestions before this World Cup that his legacy as Ireland head coach was dependent upon the delivery of a semi-final birth. But the Kiwi, who is now set to step down from his position, insisted this wasn’t the case.

“We’ve had some good days, I don’t think they should be washed away by two defeats [the other coming against Japan],” he added.

“We just met a team who I think are No 1 in the world for a reason.”

Captain Rory Best, who joins Schmidt in stepping down from international duties with Ireland, said the team was “incredibly disappointed”.

“We’ve got a lot of big guys in our team. It’s not often you get a changing room in complete silence,” he said.

“There were big men in tears.

“It’s been a real rollercoaster of emotion [this tournament].”

He added: “The All Blacks were fantastic. We felt we had prepared well and had a game plan – they just came out of the blocks hard and never let us get off that again.

“They were just really clinical, didn’t let us get on the front foot. This is a momentum game, especially in knockout rugby. The boys will look back at this but you have to give enormous credit to the All Blacks.”

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: 10 man Ireland undone by Swiss

The Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualification campaign will go down to the wire following the loss 2-0 loss to Switzerland in Geneva.

Switzerland capitalized on a good start in the 16th minute as Haris Seferovic swept home, giving the Ireland – who would have qualified with a victory – a mountain to climb.

Despite an improved second-half showing, Mick McCarthy’s side were dealt another blow as Coleman was sent off in the 75th minute for a second yellow card after he was deemed to have handled a Breel Embolo shot inside the area.

Ricardo Rodriguez stepped up, but saw his penalty well saved by Darren Randolph, who did really well to get down low to get the ball onto the post and the resulting rebound was scrambled clear.

Things went from bad to worse in the final minute as Shane Duffy inadvertently turned home an Edimilson Fernandes shot with the last play of the game.

Ireland will now need to beat second-placed Denmark at the Aviva Stadium on November 18th to qualify but will be without Coleman through suspension. Switzerland, third in Group D with 11 points, have a game in hand and are now in pole position to top the group.


Eliud Kipchoge: a run/time for the ages critiqued

As most sports fans will now be aware, yesterday Kenyan superstar marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge ran the marathon 42km (26.2 mile) distance in a scarcely believable 1hr 59min 40.2secs. It is of course the first time the distance has been run in under two hours.

The Nike prototype next generation shoes Kipchoge wore yesterday would cost £350 to buy.

The course in Vienna was also manicured down to the last conker being removed from the course in Prater Park, Kipchoge had different pacemakers to match sub-two-hour speed every few kms.

He also had a car driving in front of him for most of the course with a laser pointing exactly to sub two-hour marathon time.

The course was chosen pretty much totally flat and in October so as to maximize the possibility of there being no wind or rain and within one hour of the timezone the 34 year-old lives in so as to be as close to his natural body clock as possible.

Drafting is of course also an issue. With Kipchoge located in the middle of a group of pacemakers, the wind resistance is reduced. Drafting is usually more relevant in cycling than long distance running due to the usually very sizable difference in speed. The speed being run at by the Olympic champion in Vienna yesterday was cycling speed though (certainly cyclists cycling in any conditions aside from downhill).

In conclusion, I can therefore see why the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is not counting it as a world record for the record books. It is 21km/h over 42km though! Try 21km/h on a treadmill and see how long you last. It’s also 420 sub 17second 100metre runs back-to-back!

What remains almost certain now is that the sub two-hour marathon will be run in competition/under competitive ruling which is allowed for purposes of world record classification.

What’s next? A sub nine-second 100metres? You might laugh at me now, but maybe not in the (not too distant) future!

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Two disappointing results for the Republic of Ireland

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It was a day of disappointing results for the Republic of Ireland in their attempts to qualify for next year’s European Championships.

Firstly Mick McCarthy’s men drew 0-0 against Georgia in Tblisi and despite hitting the post early on through John Egan and having a fantastic aerial chance from the usually reliable Shane Duffy, the Republic didn’t deserve much more than one point.

Then, later this evening in Copenhagen, an inspired performance from Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and a late Yussuf Poulsen goal for the Danes means that Ireland will need to win one of their two remaining qualifiers against the two top seeds to qualifying for Euro 2020.

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Debutant Aaron Connolly very nearly snatched victory in Georgia after coming off the bench to spark a late Republic of Ireland surge.

The 19-year-old forced a 90th-minute save from keeper Giorgi Loria and then fired into the side-netting when he might have done better in a lightning cameo which almost paid rich dividends.

Shane Duffy, who had led a concerted rearguard action for much of a tight game, headed straight at home goalkeeper Loria from an injury-time corner, but Ireland ultimately had to make do with a 0-0 Group D draw.

Kasper Schmeichel Put In A Match Winning Performance Against Switzerland

Kasper Schmeichel had a man of the match winning performance in Denmark’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland, making a save right at the death for the win.

The Leicester City goalkeeper made a couple of excellent saves as Denmark won 1-0 against Switzerland, taking them level on points with Ireland at the top of the group.

Denmark were the big winners in Group D following Yussuf Poulsen’s 85th minute strike. The Leipzig forward burst on to Christian Eriksen’s through ball to prise the only goal after Kasper Schmeichel, winning his 50th cap, had kept his side in the contest by diverting stinging drives from Granit Xhaka and Ricardo Rodríguez.



Impressive performance and good result for Ireland Under-21s

It was first against fourth seeds tonight as the Republic of Ireland Under-21s hosted Italy at Tallaght Stadium. It did not look like Ireland were three seeding spots below the Azzurini though as Stephen Kenny’s side more than held their own in earning a 0-0 draw in front of a record crowd for an Under-21 international in Ireland of 7,231 people.

Troy Parrott was red carded having been shown a second yellow by German referee Sascha Stegemann for his involvement in an incident which also saw Italy’s Everton striker Moise Kean sent-off.

Tensions threatened to bubble over all evening during a hotly-contested Group 1 encounter, and when Parrott and Kean clashed in the 63rd minute, Sascha Stegemann took the opportunity to dish out severe punishment.

While you could argue Kean’s dismissal was harsh, the referee’s decision to send Tottenham striker Parrott off was extremely severe, after he had been booked early on.

The Irish team saw four changes from the side that beat Sweden last month. Liam Scales came into the defence with Darragh Leahy injured. Jonathan Afolabi was also ruled out, while Connor Ronan returned from injury.

Parrott was also restored to the starting XI, after coming off the bench against Sweden, with Aaron Connolly promoted to the seniors. Danny Mandroiu dropped to the bench, with Adam Idah also coming back into the side.

Italy carved out the game’s first real chance on 17 minutes. Luca Pellegrini’s cross found Andrea Pinamonti, who got in front of Dara O’Shea and headed just wide.

Italy went close again just after the half-hour mark. A corner caused havoc in the box, and a goalmouth scramble eventually led to Davide Frattesi shooting just over.

Ireland threatened early in the second half. Zachary Elbouzedi’s cross picked out Idah, who backheeled it to Parrott, and the Spurs youngster’s low snapshot went the wrong side of the post.

Then came the red card controversy.

Molumby’s driven free kick was parried over by Marco Carnesecchi as Ireland finished strongly with the Italians creating little late on and a draw was a fair result on the night.

Republic of Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher, Conor Masterson, Dara O’Shea, Liam Scales, Lee O’Connor, Zachary Elbouzedi (Obafemi 68), Jayson Molumby (Kilkenny 85), Conor Coventry, Connor Ronan (Knight 62), Troy Parrott, Adam Idah.

Italy: Marco Carnesecchi, Luca Pellegrini, Alessandro Bastoni, Riccardo Marchizza (Adjapong 23), Enrico Del Prato, Marco Carraro (Sottil 68), Sandro Tonali, Manuel Locatelli, Davide Frattesi, Andrea Pinamonti (Cutrone 46), Gianluca Scamacca (Kean 46)

Referee: Sascha Stegemann (Ger)

Man of the Match: Conor Coventry

Attendance: 7,231